As barriers to adoption continue to fall, companies are increasingly looking to the cloud as a new deployment option to meet their IT needs. In fact, the increasing use of the cloud makes it clear that the companies reluctant to take this step will soon find themselves in the minority.
There are three key benefits that are driving this transition. First, the subscription pricing model for cloud-based applications makes it easier to manage budgets while procuring the solutions necessary for a competitive, forward-thinking workforce. Secondly, with the cloud, businesses have 24/7/365 access to the latest updates, applications, and innovations, which helps them remain more competitive. And finally, the cloud relieves some of the burdens associated with managing on-premise solutions. Consequently, IT departments are empowered to focus on innovation and agility, which they can use to take a lead role in company growth and strategy.
These benefits are universally applicable, but how to leverage them – in terms of environments and entry points – depends entirely on the needs of an organization.
Companies can typically employ either a public or a private cloud. A public cloud generally means that your application is maintained and hosted by a third party, and that it is upgraded for the benefit of all customers, not just for one. In a private cloud, however, the vendor hosts applications for individual customers, and applications are optimized and upgraded on a custom basis. This level of control and customization is a better fit for organizations looking to run mission-critical applications in the cloud.
Cloud Entry Points
How your organization begins its journey to the cloud will depend on which of the following entry points is most suitable to your business needs:
- SaaS (Software as a Service)
Well-known SaaS solutions, such as those offered by SuccessFactors, an SAP company, or Salesforce.com, tend to be popular with end users. This is because of their ease of use, as SaaS applications can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and on any device. They also are quick to access, so people don’t have to endure long wait times for on-premise applications to get up and running.
With these applications, what you see is what you get – and what everyone else gets. This type of off-the-shelf solution offers many benefits, but may not be adequate for complex, highly specific, or mission-critical needs.
- PaaS (Platform as a Service) – For companies that want to build and run their own cloud applications, or extend the functionality of their on-premise applications to the cloud, PaaS might be the right choice. It provides an application development environment that runs in the cloud, giving companies more flexibility. It also removes significant
An energy company, for example, may wish to run analytics on smart meters to gauge usage and create customer profiles. By leveraging PaaS, the company could build a data-driven, customer-facing application that captures and analyzes streaming data from the meters without needing to build and buy the underlying software necessary for support.
PaaS can be particularly powerful in a collaborative setting, as some solutions include built-in collaboration tools to help teams through the testing and project management process.
- Managed private cloud – Many third-party cloud vendors do more than just provide the platforms and infrastructure for building and hosting cloud applications; they also manage them in a private cloud environment. Customers retain control over customization – for example, installing patches or updates – but turn to a trusted third party to assume the responsibilities of day-to-day maintenance.
Moving to a managed private cloud can provide added resources for overworked IT departments, making it much easier to take advantage of the latest back-end technology.
The SAP Cloud Portfolio
Over the last several years, SAP has moved aggressively to provide a robust cloud portfolio to meet the needs of large and small businesses alike, and we now offer:
- An extensive range of SaaS solutions, including ones for procurement from Ariba, an SAP company; HR from SuccessFactors, an SAP company; and travel and expense from Concur, also now part of SAP
- A PaaS solution through the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, which offers a means of building and running applications in the cloud, or extending existing on-premise applications in a scalable cloud environment.
- A trusted, managed cloud environment through the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service
Your journey to the cloud will be unique, but SAP is here to help you on whatever path you choose.